State Republican Lawmakers Playing 'Numbers Game' Over Abortion-Related Bill, Democrats Say

May 26, 2019

Speaker of the House Tim Moore (left) converses with former Rep. Nelson Dollar (right) during a state budget debate break at the N.C. General Assembly on June 21, 2017.
Credit Matt Couch / WUNC

The North Carolina General Assembly's Republican leadership has been holding up a vote on Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the "Born Alive" bill. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said he will continue to do so until he thinks his party has rallied enough veto-override votes.

"I want this law passed because I believe children's lives are on the line," Moore said in an interview with WUNC just before the Memorial Day weekend.

The bill would make it a felony for caregivers who fail to adequately treat infants born alive during a failed abortion procedure. It has been pulled from the House calendar eight times since late April for a lack of override votes. Republicans need a few Democratic absences or defections to get the three-fifths vote of those present needed to override Cooper's veto.

Moore said the bill is even more important after a federal court in March struck down North Carolina's decades-old law banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

But Democrats, who garnered enough votes in November to break the GOP veto-proof majority in the state House, say Republicans are just trying to manipulate the situation to score a political victory.

"Constituents need to let the leadership know that this is not a game," said Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Buncombe), "that there is not a need for this bill in the first place because infanticide is already illegal in North Carolina and that we need not play games with the votes on important issues like this."

Late last month in the state Senate, all Republicans and one Democrat voted to override Cooper's veto.